Desperate Horse Rider
21 year old Jenna (Andrea Bowen) is a promising show jumper till a horse riding accident during a competition leaves her paralysed from the waist down. Distraught by the thought of never being able to walk again Jenna agrees to a new operation and therapy to try and give her a chance of getting back on her feet and her life back. But the road to recovery is an unsure one especially when the slightest disappointment knocks Jenna's confidence and she discovers who her friends are with some struggling to deal with her new disability.
The basic storyline to "After the Fall" is a familiar but good one as we watch Jenna on her road to recovery following her accident starting with the decision to proceed with a risky operation in the hope she will walk again. It's good because it shows various real aspects of recovery from the hardship of watching friends move around to them feeling guilty when Jenna can't join in. And it also gets across the ups and downs of life where little things can make it feel like there is no hope or reason to go on, bringing in to doubt any belief you had of regaining your old life.
The trouble is that whilst "After the Fall" has all the elements and issues of someone trying to walk again the presentation of it is far too soft to the point of feeling romanticized. Now in fairness "After the Fall" does have a romantic subplot as after Jenna finds her boyfriend unable to cope with her being wheelchair bound she finds new love with handsome neighbour Will. But the whole presentation of Jenna trying to walk again and her friendship with clinically depressed Annie who is also in a wheelchair is just a little too soft. Now there is darkness when it comes to Annie, it is her defence mechanism but the whole softening of it and how people become friends borders on the cheesy rather than positive. The effect of this is that "After the Fall" had the potential to be an inspirational and uplifting movie for those who find themselves trying to come back from a debilitating injury but because everything is dealt with in such a soft way it lacks that gritty, inspirational quality it deserves.
The good news though is that with "After the Fall" being a Hallmark movie the casting is good and everyone plays their parts well. Fiona Dourif as Annie maybe a bit of a cliche being so dark and cynical but Dourif does it well and Greg Evigan as Jenna's dad Phillip delivers something similar to Treat Williams in more recent years. Then there is the handsome niceness of Rick Malambri as Will and of course Andrea Bowen as Jenna who does a reasonable job of taking us on the ups and downs of recovery.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "After the Fall" maybe a movie about a woman learning to walk again it is first and foremost a Hallmark movie and so rather than grittily inspirational it is softly romantic and as such not for everyone.